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Tilda Swinton begins Oscar race with Telluride, Toronto tributes

September 2, 2011 |  5:35 pm

Tilda Swinton has always played ethereal, fantastical characters, from the White Witch in the first Narnia film to her gender-bending role in the Sally Potter movie "Orlando." This year she is embodying a much more relatable character--a grieving mother--in the upcoming release from Oscilloscope Pictures, "We Need to Talk About Kevin." In typical Swinton fashion, though, her character is no regular mother; she's one that every other woman is terrified to become, one who has birthed a child that's capable of evil on a Columbine massacre-esque level.

Swinton's performance, first seen in May, earned her high marks when the film from writer-director Lynne Ramsay debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. (Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote, "With a raw yet controlled performance that covers a wide emotional spectrum, Swinton has to be an early favorite for the festival's best actress award.")

Swinton is now to be featured center stage at both this weekend's Telluride Film Festival and next week's Toronto International Film Festival when "Kevin" will screen for North American audiences for the first time. Each festival is also honoring the 50-year-old Swinton with special tributes to her career.

Says New Yorker critic Hilton Als of the actress in the Telluride program: "Swinton projects emotional realism in stories that are rooted in the fantastic. She knows that emotions, minimally expressed, amount to a grammar we all understand." Her tribute will be held Sunday evening.

And Noah Cowen of the Toronto Film Festival writes this about Swinton: "We know that a Swinton performance will give us an uncomfortable glimpse into our own frailty, and she has been richly rewarded for her honesty as an actor with multiple accolades, including an Academy Award for 'Michael Clayton.' " Swinton will participate in a Q&A on Sept. 11 in Toronto.

Whether this particular performance will reach all the way to the Oscars remains to be seen, but Swinton acquiescing early to publicity requests may be an indication that the Oscar winner is eager to take home another gold statuette.


Telluride Film Festival Lineup

Cannes 2011: Everyone feels the need to talk about 'Kevin'

Cannes 2011: 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' is triumphant return for a festival stalwart

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Tilda Swinton. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times

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